"How To Launch Your Own Perfume
Company : A Simple Business Plan"

In a speech before the 2007 World Perfumery Congress in Cannes, the CEO of the world's largest perfume creation company expressed concern that perfume was becomming a commodity — to be sold on price, rather than for its luxury appeal. He gave no indication, however, that his company would stop making perfume. The fact is, in spite of the many twists and turns we see in the consumer market, perfume will continue to be a very profitable business for decades to come.

There is room in the market for you!

If you are a person creating your own perfume, and if there are people who are willing to pay a fair and realistic price for your perfume, and if you have the ability to work within an organization (your own!), and if you have the ability to listen to others and process the ideas and information they share with you, and if you are prolific and disciplined with your work of perfume creation — this business plan could help you start your own perfume business, a business with unlimited potential.

This is not a hobby!

A world of difference exists between the professional and the hobby perfumer and — this may surprise you — the quality of their perfumes is not what sets the two apart, nor is it the complexity of their formulas.

There is no law that says a hobby perfumer cannot, at times, outshine a professional with a particular fragrance creation. But the work of the professional is the creative process itself, a daily dedication to moving forward in step with the buyer — sometimes a little ahead, sometimes a little behind, but always trying to find that meeting place that leads to a commercial success. But it is not the degree of commercial success achieved that distinguished the professional. It is the quest for fragrances that will resound with people ... buyers ... consumers ... the market.

The hobbiest has only himself or herself to please, with no pressures, no deadlines, no clients that must be satisfied. Return on investment — regaining the cost of materials used and the hours spent — are of very limited importance. This is not to say that the hobbiest will never sell a fragrance profitably. It is simply to say that the hobbiest is not orientated toward selling while there career of the professional depends upon creating marketable perfumes.

To be a partner in a perfume business, the perfumer must think like a professional and focus his or her creative efforts toward fragrances that will be pleasing to others ... and profitable to the business. Without this dedication the perfume would be useless to the other partners in the business, something that the perfumer — the artist — must keep in mind.

What is the plan?

First off, this business plan requires a partnership between three people with three very different skills. While the business is organized around the perfumer, it requires two other people, each with extraordinary talent and capable in their own ways. First, there must be a sales person — someone who can sell the perfumer's output directly but who also has the ability to develop markets, organize the marketing, and train and manage other sales people.

Finally there must be a manager, an administrator, an executive, a steady person with practical skill and character who can manage the practical needs of the business, keep the creative perfumer on time and on track, get orders filled correctly and on time, and feed the sales person the necessary funds for the company's advertising and sales promotions as needed.

The company is built around the efforts of these three people.

People matter!

While the business plan for this business is simple and can be quickly understood — certainly by anyone who can grasp perfumery — two elements make this a plan that is not for everyone. First, each of the partners must be good at what they are called upon to do and must be motivated to work for the common good of the business. The perfumer must produce marketable perfumes, the sales person must convert the perfumer's output to sales made at the required level of profit, and the administrator must be capable of smoothly handling everything else ... ordering supplies, filling and shipping orders, making sure that orders are paid for in full, making sure that the company's bills are paid on time, its taxes filed and paid on time, necessary permits are obtained and updated as necessary, and that all large and small details of the business are attended to.

But even that isn't enough. To make this business plan work, the partners need more than just technical skills. This "partnership", regardless of what type of legal organization it might take, can only succeed if egos are merged in favor of the business instead of being pitted one against the other ... only if mutual respect exists among the partners ... and only if the partners feel bonded to each other and to this business for which they have come together. This is, perhaps, a very 19th century concept but it is also a very, very effective business concept that has not yet been successfully replaced by today's system of profit-motivated individualism. Just ask anyone who has worked within this modern system for five years or more!

Could this business plan work for you?

Are you a perfumer who would like to start your own perfume business? Are you a sharp marketing person who would love to sell original perfumes ... and just happens to know the right person to create them? Are you a sharp-as-a-tack administrator/manager who just happens to know a great perfumer and the right person to do the selling?

If you are any of these people, this business plan might be just what you need to motivate you to get started!

"How To Launch Your Own Perfume Company : A Simple Business Plan" is FREE to Perfume Makers' Club members. (Elsewhere, from $2.99)

Philip Goutell's Signature
Photo of Phil Goutell

Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.